Open and Smart

January 30, 2017

“Because we share the philosophy that Columbus is open to all, we are always taking risks, always thinking big and always open to new ideas.”
-The Columbus Image Project

Communities often struggle to define an authentic message about who they are and what they stand for. This was true for Columbus when I moved my family here years ago.

The difficult work of examining this was undertaken by thoughtful civic leaders and fantastic marketing firms. They reached out across the metro, inviting citizens from all walks of life and all neighborhoods to weigh in on what they thought best described the community. After all the research was analyzed by local firm Ologie, it was found that our core characteristics are quite simple. When asked what type of community Columbus was, the responses repeatedly supported two attributes: Open and smart.

As a region with nearly 140,000 enrolled college students, one of the largest land grant universities at its core, research institutions like Battelle and OCLC, and a cadre of science-driven businesses like Abbott and CAS, it makes sense that we would value “smart.” This attribute has since been reinforced by Columbus winning the U.S. DOT’s Smart City Challenge and the growth of our IT and analytics cluster.

“Open” was harder for those not familiar with the area to understand. Upon closer examination, it becomes much clearer. The Columbus Region is one the largest fashion, apparel and retail headquarters hubs in North America. It is the beneficiary of foreign direct investment from Honda and hundreds of its Japanese-based suppliers, and it is a seat of government and public debate in America’s 7th largest state. It makes perfect sense that Columbus area citizens have more exposure to diverse perspectives and ideas and the people who brought them.

It turns out that these words are not just a statement of values. They have become our region’s value proposition. When welcoming a new family, a new business or a talented young student into our region, it is something that we convey and discuss. It is also an expectation for those who become One of US.

-Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • Last week, the Transportation Research Center announced a $45 million investment in a state-of-the-art hub for automated and autonomous testing. Congratulations to TRC, which will be at the forefront of future mobility.
  • Congratulations to Columbus’ first unicorn, CoverMyMeds. The startup has been acquired for $1.1 billion by McKesson, allowing CoverMyMeds to maximize its impact and continue its commitment to being a best place to work in Ohio.
  • Next week, we’ll join 1,300 guests for the 2017 Columbus Chamber Annual Meeting. Learn more and register here.